At the start of this course, my goal was to find ways to create and market a brand using social media. I have a love-hate relationship with sales: I critique in silence every sales pitch whenever someone tries to sell me something—nine times out of ten it turns out to be an uninspiring interaction—yet, I really enjoy a good ad.
I’ve had many jobs in sales—brick-and-mortar retail, door-to-door, telemarketing—and I always dreaded interrupting people to sell them a product. Can you remember the last time you got excited about a telemarketer suggesting you should go on a cruise? Or about someone knocking on your door to see if you want a water-purifier? Probably not. Who likes being interrupted? Yet, there are corn-chip ads that will stop you on your tracks on your way to the fridge.
The thing about presenting yourself with a sales-pitch is that, by the time people realize you are selling something (whether they buy or not) all you are to them is that—a pitch. However, once in a while, you come across those that make you look twice and lean in; those that make you laugh, get you excited or make you think about a loved one—Those that engage you.
Social media presents a great opportunity to promote your business. One that goes beyond traditional marketing strategies designed to simply get in front of people with a transactional proposition—a common mistake that brands make when using social media; they worry more about their reach than their impact.
When a brand engages you with their strategy the focus in never on the success of their company or their products’ features but rather, it is focused on you: not that they didn’t show you their product, or that you didn’t know it was for sale. It’s that something they did—not just the product itself—delivered an experience that made you relate to their brand in an emotional way.
Before social media, small businesses could only influence a small circle around them; you could be a baker and have a great marketing strategy, but beyond the smell of freshly-baked bread lingering in your neighbourhood, your reach outside that area was limited to pamphlets and spam. The alternative were expensive ads reserved for big-budget agencies and those who could afford them. Social media leveled that field.
With the internet and social media your small business circle is now only limited by your imagination. You can reach millions of people from… well, anywhere where one can get Wi-Fi! If you add to that, the fact that airbrushed ads and perfectly scripted voice-overs are losing trust from a generation that can sway the market with their opinion—meaning millennials value real over perfect—sky is the limit when it comes to execution.
A specific application in the field of online marketing and social media that I find appealing, is ephemeral content. I wrote an article a few months ago about the fear of missing out (FOMO) and since then, the trend continues to grow. About my earlier point, real over perfect does not mean sloppy. The reason this trend is growing is because people want to engage with stories. They want to see how the bread is baked, and then they want to know who the baker is. Stories let’s us have an intimate connection with a brand and this is a great application for a lot of them.
Another interesting way to use social media to sell your products is tagging them on Instagram. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Done right, you can tell a story with a photo—who doesn’t love a stunning visual? And, what if everything you see in the picture could be ordered by taping on it with your finger? That’s an innovative idea!
Social Media Marketing is a field with many unexplored corners. Platforms emerge and innovate every day, as do the marketers that promote brands on them. Tools aside, a business should fist pay attention to its community’s needs and craft an honest product to share with them. Marketers should think of a way to tell a story that makes people lean in, and inspire trust. Then we can focus on reaching millions!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. What other applications do you find innovative to promote a brand on Social? I’d love to read about it.